Betway executives revealed Friday that the company won’t be ready to go live in early March should it get approval to operate a digital sports betting platform in Massachusetts.
Betway officials who went before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) for the company’s Category 3 untethered digital wagering platform review quickly volunteered that Betway doesn’t plan to take advantage of the universal go-live date. They then asked to discuss details of launch timing in executive session.
Those details center around Betway parent company Digital Gaming Corp. being acquired by Super Group, Commission Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said when the meeting returned to public view. The acquisition closed Jan. 3, meaning Super Group was not part of the original Betway application, and its ownership and some shareholder groups must now submit to reviews before Betway can be approved to go live. The process would likely take longer than the eight weeks between now and the “early March” universal launch date for digital platforms that the MGC is pointing to.
“We’re committed to Massachusetts and appreciate the opportunity to refile and resubmit, and it is our sincere want to address the challenge of timing, so we will be in touch in due course,” Betway Digital Gaming Executive Vice President for North American Operations Bruce Watermeyer told the commission.
Commission seeks way to accommodate
Commissioners clearly would like Betway to be part of the universal launch, and there was discussion among the commissioners, their staff, and Betway executives about how to streamline the process, including getting “designation letters” from other states in which Super Group has already been approved.
Loretta Lillios, head of the Investigations Enforcement Bureau, said her group has been in close touch with Digital Gaming and Super Group executives and is moving forward with its process. While some of the early paperwork is in process, she said, “the applications themselves may take the applicant longer.”
Super Group has completed the acquisition of online sports betting and igaming business Digital Gaming Corporation (DGC), which owns the rights to Super Group’s Betway brand in the US https://t.co/CTAIwBfRjF pic.twitter.com/54I1xvFVQN
— iGB (@iGamingBusiness) January 4, 2023
Commissioner Eileen O’Brien suggested that as the process moves forward, it might be possible to award Betway initial approval and make the Super Group application a condition for further approval. Should Betway get approval, Massachusetts would be the sixth U.S. state in which the sportsbook is active. It is currently live in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Executives fielded questions similar to those posed to other applicants regarding responsible gaming plans, diversity within the company and its vendors, and potential job creation — and provided a demonstration of how the platform works. The commission was generally satisfied with the application and answers provided by the Digital Gaming team, including that it would revisit some marketing items that currently include the phrase “free bet” and consider adding a Massachusetts office should there be enough talent in the region to merit one. The commission lauded the company on the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Application votes start Wednesday
The MGC has so far reviewed five standalone mobile applications, including Betway’s. The final Category 3 untethered application, which is from PointsBet, is on the schedule for Monday, and the MGC will revisit and vote on each applicant beginning Wednesday. So far, the commission has reviewed applications from Bally’s, Betway, FanDuel, Betr, and DraftKings.
Under the new state law, the commission can issue up to seven standalone mobile licenses, but only six companies have applied. Five others — Barstool Sportsbook (Plainridge Park), BetMGM (MGM Springfield), Caesars Sportsbook (Encore Boston Harbor), Fanatics (Plainridge Park), and WynnBET (Encore Boston Harbor) — applied for tethered digital licenses, and all have been initially approved. The MGC announced in December that it would launch retail sportsbooks by Jan. 31.